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With A Bang

Vacation started off with a surprising change of pace. Literally. I tagged along with Melissa's uncle on his walk in Mill Creek Park in Youngstown, and I ended up logging five miles Saturday morning. Three-quarters what I traveled all last week, doing a mile a day through our neighborhood in Ann Arbor. First part was a two-mile jaunt before he took a break for coffee at the nearby gas station. Second was with a family friend, logging three miles.

What makes this remarkable is that I'd only gotten to bed at 1 a.m. the night before, and Melissa's uncle rises and shines around 5:30. Lately, once I wake, I'm up.

I was sore later in the morning, but I'm confident I can up my daily mileage to two circuits through our development. Probably this afternoon. Yes, it will be hot, but I've time to kill until I pick up youngest daughter from her volleyball camp, and this morning I'm cutting the grass; house work is one of the things you get to do when you're on vacation. :-)

Disagreeable Muse

Making progress, but the muse still doesn't get the idea of productivity. Probably because I'm working out the kinks of what to use, what not, and how to avoid overloading the narrative. Less Koontzian or Straubesque in style, which is the direction my prose leans nowadays. And I can go for less, because I need to show more, tell less.

I love craft. :-)

Another Mile, Another Page

Got home last night to find everyone gone. Girls at volleyball conditioning, Melissa helping a friend clean her classroom. Storm clouds threatened, so I took care of my "daily mile" and finished just before spouse came home.

Started rewriting the first chapter later that night and got a page down, so at least my muse is keeping pace with my distance traveled. What I don't want is for my muse to get the idea that she can only help me with as many pages as miles I walk/run. :-)

It's a start, though. I'll take 250 words over zero any day.

Youngest daughter plays with the high school team again tonight. She's looking forward to it after a week off, especially with the "practice" she got yesterday during the first conditioning. Eldest daughter says she did well: solid serves, solid passes, dug shanks out of the net two or three times, and was setting as well as some of the JV and V players. So, she's on the right track.

Advantages

One of the advantages of being a father -- besides Father's Day -- is my kids occasionally teach me lessons. Or illustrate that the spouse and I did something right as we raised them.

We afforded both girls the opportunity to play sports as they grew up; Ann Arbor's Rec & Ed department does an excellent job, providing a wide ranges of activities and athletics. Older daughter gravitated to volleyball and softball, and younger daughter followed in her footsteps. Which brings younger daughter to the point where she's entering high school this fall, and starting conditioning for the coming volleyball season.

Her club season finished two weekends ago, and she spent the last week in Chicago for her eighth grade class trip. So she feels as if she's a little behind in the conditioning, even though she's continued to practice and play with a group of girls from Pioneer. Her sister is conditioning with her, helping her figure out how to perform some of the drills, and so far the experience is a good one; they both giggled until they started rolling on the floor.

Part of the fitness log younger daughter was given includes weekly running goals, starting with a half-mile distance the first week, three-quarters the second, and a mile the third, which was last week. Before tryouts, the coach wants the players able to run three miles in 30 minutes. Basically, a 5k run. Luckily, younger daughter had to do a lot of walking last week in Chicago, including some 3-mile distances, so she already knows she's capable of making it.

Since I'm a Biggest Loser/Jillian Michaels fan, and know cardio and running are an integral part of any fitness routine, I've decided to take advantage of the girls working out, and join them (trail them, actually) on their runs. I can't keep up with them; my knees can't take the punishment yet. But I logged two-plus miles over the weekend, and if I keep to a daily schedule I can record more than 100 miles between now and my 47th birthday.

And since I'm planning on going to World Fantasy in late October, with a new book finished, I'm hoping such a daily routine will provide some momentum for the muse. I logged two pages over the weekend, and hope to double that total today as I hash out the opening pages on the horror thriller I've toyed with the past few months.

Project: Sacrifices (working title)
New Words: 500
Total Word Count: 500
Goal: 125,000 words

Things Accomplished in Fiction: Figured out the beginning, losing a character while gaining another. Added some complications with the new character. Figured out how to stop dumping info.


500 / 125000 words. 0% done!

World Fantasy 2010

Spouse and I were just talking as we went to pick up Market Day this morning, and she's all for me going to World Fantasy in Columbus this year. So I'm booking my room and starting the process for my membership in a few moments.

I'm looking forward to seeing a lot of old friends come October.
Good news, bad news on the writing front.

We were in Grand Rapids this past weekend for the state volleyball championships. Youngest daughter played well, and her team went undefeated the first day. We happened to stop by the Meijers near Grand Valley in Allendale to pick up supplies, and I browsed the book section (as usual). Picked up a copy of Keri/kezarthur's Moon Sworn and happened to spy a new mass market titled Wave by Wil Mara.

Good news was the former. Keri's a friend/acquaintance from my Sock Monkey days and it's always nice to see someone you know succeed. Especially when they work hard.

Bad news was the Mara book, as its premise matches the one I pitched in 1998 to an agent. Only difference was that my book was set in Hawaii and around the Pacific Rim. I even had the same title.

Which goes to prove I can come up with good ideas, and it's only my work ethic that's in question. Which also explains the paucity of posts here and on Twitter. My muse threw the idea my way before the current run of thrillers by Dan Brown, James Rollins, and company. My muse threw the idea my way before the 2004 Indonesian tsunami.

My muse kicks ass. I do not.

This post is an apology. The reason I started to take writing seriously was because I had gone through 30-some years without finishing a book, and I saw King and Koontz put out books in 1995-96 that delivered on on ideas that I had years before. Heck, my muse even gave me an Under The Dome idea almost three years ago.

I'll say it again. My muse kicks ass/ I do not.

So ... do I give up?

I want to say no. I know I won't say that I'll try. The three-letter word might as well be a four-letter one for all the good it does. Let's say that I will do my best and quit starving my kick-ass muse.

New Words

Knocking out some new words is the best way to head into the weekend. Especially about a character with staying power. My opinion, of course, but I like him. Reformed criminal in Witness Protection, dealing with supernatural troubles.

Apocalypi

We were just debating the plural of apocalypse here in the office ...

The sky is darkening this morning with the approach of the thunderstorms forecast for yesterday. We're located right next to a medical supply office, so I noted to my cube neighbor that we'd be OK in case of an apocalypse.

I went on to note that we'd be safe in the case of a zombie apocalypse, because there's a National Guard recruiting center less than a half-mile up the road and they're certain to have some weapons on site. And right up from there is a Kroger, so we could stock up on food and essentials.

Cube neighbor asked what I would do if the apocalypse was a nuclear one.

My reply: "I wasn't thinking about that kind. I was thinking about the fun kind."

Which brought up the question of the plural you would use. :-)

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Signs

I think the universe is trying to tell me something when the office vending machine won't take my money.

Happy Birthday, maradydd!

Happy birthday, Meredith.

Love you, miss you. Hope you have a great day. :-)

Happy Birthday, sksperry!

Happy birthday, Steve. :-)

Street Teaming The Gaslight Dogs

I hope spreading the word will boost sales of The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee, friend and fellow Sock Monkey.

Derek Molata is running a contest to give away three copies. Check it out. If you don't win a copy through the contest, head over to your favorite local bookstore and pick up a copy. And don't forget to play commando with the copies left behind, turning them cover out. :-)

First Day

Revisions to the prologue for Sacrifices is done. I've taken into account UWG critiques, both on this manuscript and on Only The Dead, and I think I've got a handle on some of my problems with plotting and character motivation.

So, one day's work and two pages in the books. Later today I'm going to tackle the first part, setting up the "boy meets girl" portion of the book.

I'm laughing as I write that last. My elevator pitches seem to follow a simple formula. In this particular case: boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy brings girl back to life.

The complications that go into developing those different parts make the story. How do they meet? Who are they? How do they lose each other and why? All those W and H questions that I learned in journalism school. Which I need to answer--and make entertaining--so readers will follow along.

But it all comes back to the original, simple foundation. And I'm laughing because at some point down the road I hope to have an agent or editor who will skip ahead past the "meets" and "loses" and just asks me what the wrinkle is this time, what did my muse come up with now.

Punked

I should know better.

I know today is April 1; it's one of my two birthdays.* Yet, I still fell hook, line and sinker for the Locus Online article that started out with mention of an online novel writing experiment by Cory Doctorow. Even the strangeness of Cherie Priest riding a buggy through Amish country was tempered by news of Ted Chiang writing a new story in 100 word increments and publishing the excerpts in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. The first and last were odd, but plausible on some Mythbusters-type level. It wasn't until I got to the part about Stephen King that I realized my mistake.

Good joke, Locus. :-)

* - I was adopted and delivered on April 1 to my family.

Werewolf Haiku

Responding to the ARC giveaway contest being run by jenlyn_b between now and next Monday for a copy of Raised By Wolves, I offer the following werewolf haiku.

Tooth and claw, moon-born,
Promise release from bonds forged
In mortality.

I'm not the best poet, but I think this captures the sense of freedom one could find in changing who you are, even for a brief moment in time.


Click on the following link to find out more over at Amazon about the book.

Volleyball -- and Parenting

Youngest daughter plays volleyball. She's following in her sister's footsteps. Admittedly, she's probably influenced by the fact that she had to go to her sister's tournaments on weekends and during school, but she learned to appreciate the game and maintained she wanted to play and not watch when she got old enough.

She's on a good team this year. Good being defined as a team with players who have a great attitude and aren't just there to mark time. They want to become better players. Because they've experienced some successes and want to continue doing something at which they're good. Because they want to be around others who have the same ideals and goals.

This Weekend's TournamentCollapse )

Spring

You know spring is here when birds start building a nest in the evergreen wreath hanging from your front door.

Youngest daughter's cat Emma clued me to the activity before I left for work yesterday morning. She hovered by the door and window, deep in stalk mode. I saw the birds right away, chirping in complaint, and then noticed the scraps of string in the wreath where it lay against the glass set in the exterior screen door.

We had hung the evergreen wreath on the screen door this year for the holidays rather than the interior wood door. So, time to swap to the Spring wreath/door hanger Melissa uses at this time of year -- and it's probably a good idea to put that on the inside instead. :-)

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Cavalier Magic Numbers

Yesterday was a long day. Volleyball tournament from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Spring team registrataion from 4ish until 8 p.m. Factor in the time change, and I can't believe I was able to remain awake to watch the Cavaliers-Celtics game that I DVR'd.

Had to take a break and stretch my legs at the start of the fourth quarter, because I was exhausted. It was all worth it, as Cleveland beat Boston, and lowered their magic numbers for the Central Division title and the coming playoff seedings.

The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee

Karin posted some pictures of the front and back cover of The Gaslight Dogs, forthcoming book from Orbit. Looking forward to this book. It's always nice to read books by friends. Especially when they're good books, which is generally the case with my peeps.

I am very fortunate. :-)

Novel Workshop

Still working on a rewrite of OTD for when I need to submit the full manuscript to the novel workshop I'm attending in mid-May, but I've uploaded the first 50 pages this morning. I don't know whether I'm going to eventually end up axing the prologue or not as I restructure some of the main character's background. Something to consider post-workshop after I receive my critiques.

I need to email the UWG. I missed the last meeting because of work and weather, and I don't know who subbed and who did not for the March 8 meeting. I've chapter 5 and 6 to submit if there's an open slot.

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